ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2013, Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 387–396. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2013.
Original Russian Text © N.G. Evdokimov, 2013, published in Ekologiya, 2013, No. 5, pp. 345–355.
The northern mole vole belongs to a special life
form, underground rodents, and lives usually in semi
arid and arid areas, i.e., steppes and deserts (Formo
zov, 1956), but it also occurs in the forest–steppe zone
of Russia, including that of the Ural Region (Kirikov,
1952; Evdokimov and Pozmogova, 1992). The avail
able published data on the growth and development of
this species characterize the early period of postnatal
development as observed in vivaria (LeinSokolova,
1928; Zubko and Ostryakov, 1961; Letitskaya, 1984).
Observations on later stages of postnatal development
in a vivarium may differ from what can be seen in
The purpose of this study was to provide an idea of
the postnatal growth and development of the northern
mole vole in natural populations, based on analysis of
morphophysiological parameters of this species (in
different age groups) and methodical observations on
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The ecology of the northern mole vole was studied
for many years (in 1974–1976 and 1980–1997) on the
basis of family captures, including both onetime cap
tures for collection and the mark–recapture method.
The animals were captured mainly in the Ural Region
using modernized Golov’s (1954) live traps.
Morphophysiological parameters used to charac
terize different sex and age groups were as follows:
condylobasal skull length (CSL); relative skull length,
or skull length index (SLI); zygomatic skull width
(ZSW); upper left tooth row length (ULT);
root length (TRL); body length (BL); body weight
(BW); heart weight (HW); left kidney weight (KW);
liver weight (LW); and left testicle weight (TW). In
addition, the body condition factor (BC) was deter
mined as the ratio of body weight to body length. Inte
grating small differences in body weight and length,
this useful parameter reliably reflects the actual physi
ological state of the individual.
Analysis of growth and development of the north
ern mole vole was based on morphophysiological
parameters of animals collected over many years
(26 samples, over 1500 individuals) and body weight of
marked animals. Mark–recapture studies were per
formed in Chelyabinsk and Kurgan oblasts.
In 1981–1983, marked animals were studied in
Kunashakskii raion of Chelyabinsk oblast (in a mono
morphic population represented only by the black
morph). Mole voles were captured, marked, and
recaptured four times in 1981 (in April, June, August,
and October), four times in 1982 (in April, May,
August, and October), and three times in 1983 (in
April, June, and September). Ten families were
observed, 280 animals were marked, and each marked
individual was recaptured 2–10 times.
In Kurtamyshskii raion of Kurgan oblast (the Kur
tamysh population), mark–recapture studies were
performed two times per year (in April or May and in
Postnatal Growth and Development of the Northern Mole Vole
in Natural Populations in the Northwestern Part of Its Range
N. G. Evdokimov
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received June 18, 2012
—Longterm studies (1975–1999) and large amounts of field data (collections and observations on
marked animals) have been used to analyze the growth and development of the northern mole vole (
Pall., 1770). Data are presented on the postnatal development and life spans of particular age groups
of this species and on the dynamics of growth and life spans in the resident and migrant parts of the popula
tion. It is shown that the population is divided into slowly growing and rapidly growing groups, which is
related to population dynamics. The timing of sexual maturation of the northern mole vole depending on the
time of birth is clarified. It is shown that stable reproduction of this underground species is accounted for by
the presence of seasonal generations.
northern mole vole, postnatal growth, development, residents, migrants, life span, sexual matura
tion, seasonal generation, reproductive activity, growth rate, population dynamics